Friday Night Notes

10 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

TODAY IS THE DAY!! I want to remind everyone one last, final time that this morning (Saturday) starting about 11:45, the TwinsCentric guys will be hosting a Twins Viewing Party at Major’s Sports Café in Blaine. The Twins and White Sox start at noon, but the event should be a lot of fun. There will be drink and appetizer specials. Prizes will also be given away. We will give away more copies of the Twins 2010 Annual. I will give out a copy of my Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. And, we have a couple of Twins tickets to give away as well. Hopefully you can make it because it is always fun watching and talking Twins games with other Twins fans. Hopefully we will see you there!

THE SHOW on Sunday – I’m currently working on adding to the guest list for Sunday night’s episode of The Show. The Show will begin at 9:00 central time, so stop by SethSpeaks.net where links and details will be set up on Sunday.

Twins Topics

Friday – Minnesota 5, Chicago 4 (11 innings)

If last night’s game is any indication, there are going to be a lot of great, exciting baseball games between the Twins and the White Sox. In Game 1 of 19, the Twins were the victors with an extra-inning effort. The team improves to 4-1 on this tough road trip, and hopefully can continue that trend today when Scott Baker opposed Freddy Garcia and the White Sox.

  • Francisco Liriano made a much-anticipated start for the Twins. I haven’t heard as much excitement about a veteran’s start in a long time but, rightfully so, it was a very exciting start. The lefty struggled so much in 2009, and he showed so much promise in the Winter League and in Spring Training that fans are hopeful. And, despite five walks in six innings (something that will have to be improved), he gave up just three runs in six innings. Some will be upset about the two-run double to Alex Rios, but first, those things happen, and second, it was a changeup that just got too much of the plate. Drew Butera was looking for it down and away, and it just was up too much in the zone. But all in all, it was a Quality Start, and something to build on.
  • Speaking of Butera, he went 0-3 with three strikeouts and a sacrifice bunt before being removed for a pinch hitter in the 11th inning. I’ve already been asked so much what I thought of Butera’s performance. Personally, I thought that it was exactly what I would expect from Butera. I thought he did a very good job defensively. I really think he does a great job with balls in the dirt. Fundamentally, he was sound. He didn’t try to catch the ball. Instead, he used his chest protector to keep the ball in front of him. As for pitch-calling, it’s tough to say. Liriano has three pitches and you want to use them all. There are probably good and bad, but in over 140 pitches, you’re not going to be right all the time. Also, the pitcher is really in charge. The catcher can put something down, but the pitcher can shake it off. The pitcher is the one ultimately responsible for the pitch he throws. Offensively, I think that Butera is on par with Mike Redmond, which isn’t to say he’s good at all, but he’s also not going to go 0-3 with three strikeouts every time. He will get some hits. And, remember, that that biggest role he provides is giving Mauer some time off. Had the Twins lost, I know some people who would have complained or even suggested that it was due to Butera, something I think is absolutely ridiculous.
  • JJ Hardy has been terrific through the Twins first five games. He has homered twice already, and last night, he had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 11th inning, a run-scoring single. I think fans need to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to Hardy’s offense. However, what he does defensively has been incredibly impressive so far, and that’s very valuable as well. He seems to have at least average range, but his arm is very strong and the plays he has made deep in the hole have been very impressive!
  • It was good to see Denard Span get a couple of hits last night. Again, five games mean so little in the big picture, but stats get over-evaluated this early in the season. A couple more hits and he’ll be over .200.
  • The guy that would probably really enjoy having a 5-5 day would be Jason Kubel who is currently hitting just .177.
  • Meanwhile, Justin Morneau is taking the role of showing that spring training stats mean absolutely nothing. The lefty barely hit .100 this spring, but after three more hits last night, he is hitting .389.
  • Matt Guerrier was incredible again last night. He came in with a runner on 2B and nobody out. After a groundout put runner a runner on third with just one out, Guerrier really bore down and got two pop outs to get out of the inning. He had another He pitched a second scoreless frame as well.
  • Jon Rauch is now 3-3 in save opportunities. If you listened to my appearance on KFAN on Thursday, Paul Allen asked me if I trust Rauch as the Twins closer. My response was that I trust him as much as anyone else right now. I basically said that since he has been successful in his past when he comes into7th or 8th inning situations with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in a one-run game, he can be successful coming into a game with no one on and a one, two or three run lead. Last night on Twitter, I also tweeted that Rauch exemplifies why I believe that any pitcher can get 30 saves given the opportunity.
  • By the way, Sergio Santos, former Rochester Red Wings shortstop, looked very impressive last night. I know Delmon Young swings aggressively, but the pitch sequence that Santos used to strikeout the Twins left fielder was impressive. 96 with the fastball and a sharp slider at 83. That’s tough!

Red Wings Report

Friday – Rochester, Pawtucket –  Postponed by Rain. On Saturday, Glen Perkins will oppose Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first of two games. Jeff Manship will start the second game.

New Britain Notes

Friday – New Britain, New Hampshire – Postponed by Rain. Tyler Robertson is scheduled to make the start for the Rockcats.  

Miracle Matters

Friday – Ft. Myers 3, Bradenton 5Michael Tarsi started Game 2 for the Miracle. In four innings, the tall lefty gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits and four walks. He struck out one. Then Jake Mauer did a nice job by getting Shooter Hunt into another game quickly. The righty threw a scoreless inning. He gave up two hits, but most important, he walked none and struck out two. Tony Davis and Billy Bullock each threw two shutout innings. It is exciting to see who did well for the Miracle. Drew Thompson went 2-3 with a home run and a stolen base. Paul Kelly went 2-4 with a double. Chris Herrmann got the start behind the plate, and he hit his first homer of the season.

Snappers Snippets

Friday – Beloit 3, Cedar Rapids 5 – The Snappers scored three runs in the top of the 9th, but it wasn’t enough. Dan Osterbrock’s 2010 season started out just like his 2009 season did. In this start, he went just 2.1 innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits. Peter Kennelly went the next 2.1 innings and gave up a run on a hit and three walks. Dakota Watts went the next 2.1 innings. He gave up one hit and one walk, but struck out two without giving up a run. Ben Tootle struck out one in a perfect eighth inning. There wasn’t much offense from the Snappers. In fact, Aaron Hicks went 0-4 with four strikeouts. (through two games, he is 0-7 with six strikeouts and a walk.) But Tobias Streich went 1-2 with two walks, a double and a stolen base.  

If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor leagues, please feel free to ask. Leave your questions or comments.

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5 Responses to “Friday Night Notes”

  1. Dave April 10, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    What separates good seasons from very good seasons is winning when you play poorly. That was the case last night. Didn’t get a chance to watch, so I don’t know why Gardy lifted Neshek after one batter. If it was because he was finally treating an April game like a September game, I can die happy.

  2. writingfordigital April 10, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Paul Kelly! If he is really back to full strength, that is huge! And it would be such a great story if he came back to form after four years mostly out with injuries. My question is, is he playing shortstop? I know his problems were with his legs. If he has the range he had before all the injuries, he’d instantly be the top shortstop in the system not named Hardy, Polanco or Sano.

  3. James M. April 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    You said: Offensively, I think that Butera is on par with Mike Redmond.

    Are you kidding? Redmond is a lifetime .288/.344/.361 hitter in 2,200 AB’s. That’s a 705 OPS. Nothing to brag about, certainly. Still, of the 68 catchers who got at least 100 PA’s last year, 39 of them were worse than that.

    Butera’s career line: .212/.294/.312. And that’s in the minors. According to minorleaguesplits.com that translates to .167/.223/.235 at the major league level, a 458 OPS.

    How bad is that? Of those same 68 catchers, only one was worse. Everybody else was at least 90 points higher. Redmond himself beat it by 130 points despite having the worst year of his career. Even Sal Butera makes his son look pathetic in comparison to his lifetime 597 OPS.

  4. gkasper April 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    It was 4-3…

  5. jimbo92107 April 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I see exactly what’s the matter with Drew Butera at the plate. He keeps his hands too high and back as the pitcher starts into his motion. Other players get their hands up and back, but as the pitcher removes the ball from his glove, those hitters lower their hands to a spot about shoulder high and just behind their shoulder. Because Butera leaves his hands so high and back, he has very little realistic plate coverage, little power, and his swing is late and loose. Other than that, it’s great style. Butera should work to copy Michael Cuddyer’s stance and style. It would vastly improve him as a hitter. Might even make him a starter somewhere.

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